continued from pt.2 here
I’d snuck on the train, jumped the turnstile, and gotten caught in a sweep.
Occasionally the NYPD would do these sweeps, Operation: Turnstile Jumping Assholes or some such endeavor. And you wouldn’t believe hom many turnstile jumping assholes there were, who did so with guns and drugs and all kinds of illegal shit on their persons. Some were even escaped felons or criminals at-large with warrants, some with their photos or likenesses posted on the walls of precincts and post offices all over the place. NY might be the big city, full of wise-ass criminal minds, but it has its fair share of imbeciles, make no mistake about that.
I got caught up in one of these sweeps, with a bag a weed in my pocket, so you can count me among the imbeciles.
I was about 15 at the time, a half-assed high school student, and a half-assed God. I’d met my boys, my fellow Gee-Oh-Dee, and some select eighty-fives (which is what we called black guys who weren’t in the Nation…white folks were devils), and had a function over in East New York by Euclid Avenue on the A & C-trains. Our before school function was a morning routine. 4-8 guys, 2-5 blunts, 2-4 quarts of Olde E or Ballentine Ale, going around in a cipher. Everyone chipped in according to their means. Cats that were broke all the time usually got avoided or barred, but the crew usually made exceptions for my broke-ass for some reason. I usually only had a buck or two, if that. I stayed broke most of my teen years. Every time I ever touched money, it disappeared towards weed or munchies before it could even get comfortable in my pocket. Whether at school or at home, there was always a function. Always. Maybe it was out of pity they put me on so often regardless of my measely contribution, or because I was entertaining. Or because I was one of the few voices of reason among guys whose mischievous minds would come up with the craziest shit to get into on any given day.
Or, maybe it was love. Who knows?
Anyway, once properly stimulated (stim’d), we’d decide whether or not we were going to go soak up some of that Devil’s Trick Knowledge, otherwise known as a high school education, or go play ball, or find some girls, or maybe just go to somebody’s crib. My Mom’s didn’t work so it was rarely my crib. My man Cincere’s crib was nearby so we’d go there often and keep getting high til we pass out watching All My Children or The Young & the Restless on mute blasting a tape of last night’s- really that morning’s- Mr. Magic or The World’s Famous Supreme Team show (The Gods) that someone had stayed up til or set their alarm to 2am (Hip-Hop was truly underground in them days) to record.
This day, though, I had plans, as well as three whole dollars. I also had a bag of weed, I hadn’t mentioned, stashed in my pocket. My boys wanted me to stay with them, as much for my company as for the blunt my three dollars would secure, but I was adamant. I had pussy on the brain. I couldn’t tell them I was on my way to a hookie party in Flatbush at the crib of the girl who’d taken my virginity a few weeks earlier, cuz I was in love (or something emotional was going on) and embarrassed about it. At the time, love was thought of as some kind of drug that pollutes the brain and convoluted the decision-making process. Makes you do shit like choose some Weak Cipher Man (woman) over the God Body (your boys). So, I half-lied and told them I was going to this chick’s crib to get some pussy but if she saw their asses I wasn’t getting shit! She wasn’t down for no gang bang action (and neither was I truth be told). She was a nice girl, with money, I told them, trying to keep a straight face, the effort to do so probably working against me. So I promised them if I got some ends from her I’d catch up with them later and we’d get stim’d then. They half-bought it. This was pre-cell phone and the early days of beepers and pagers when they were strictly for drug dealers and doctors, so catching up with people back then, especially mofos on the constant search for the function like we were, was a long-shot. You either knew where shit was going down or you missed out.
They looked pissed and I could imagine the fallout that would result, so I hit them off with a buck of the three. That changed the mood a little, from angry to betrayed. I had to escape before i gave in to the pressure.
“PEACE to the Gods!” I hollered and made my exit! Responses were grumbled.
I felt bad lying to them like that…kinda. I mean, I was in love, I think. And she was too…with dick and weed, that is. Who’s dick and weed didn’t matter much but I didn’t know that at the time. She loved to smoke and fuck and that made her a perfect way to spend the day. If I showed up at her door with some weed I was in like Flint. At the party there would be munchies, music, brew and a guy for every girl, as per her plan, and I was her dick du jour. It was that simple. Last thing I needed was a bunch of homies already zooted, up in her crib with hard dicks complicating shit, cock blocking all over the place, discovering I basically traded precious weed for easy pussy and disturbing my goddamn groove with ridicule and slander.
I was probably appeasing my guilt while I descended into the subway station.
I snuck on the train as a matter of course on a daily basis in them days. The idea of paying for a train was inconceivable, not to mention I often couldn’t afford it anyhow. Spotting a cop in the station to me and most people I knew only meant a delay in getting where you need to be until the cop left, or a walk to the next station. They couldn’t be at every station. But, pay? Never. Some people were even daring enough to sneak on when a cop would turn his back. I never had balls like that.
I’d lost or sold my school train pass, can’t remember which, so, after a cursory scan on approach for cops and seeing none, and observing that the token booth clerk was distracted by his token accounting, I quickly leapt over the turnstile with seasoned skill. The clerk’s voice suddenly boomed after me over the loud-speaker with a squelch: “HEY YOU! PAY YOUR FARE!”
I sneered back at him contemptuously (he didn’t have to do that) and the thought, asshole, was just crossing my mind when two plain-clothes transit cops stepped out of the shadows flashing badges and looking like they dared me to do anything aside from stop and breathe, and not much of the latter. I tried to play it cool, but cops always scared the shit outta me.
“You got some ID?” one cop said, routine for this kind of thing. I’d gotten busted before and the standard procedure was to prove your identity, receive your summons, pay your fine within a month or so, usually about 15 bucks, and if you paid it timely that was the end of that. If not, well, you could find your ass in the system with a warrant, or cleaning graffiti off of the trains on the weekends, or something like that. Nothing to get excited over, though. I didn’t really have any ID at the time except for the train pass I no longer had so I told them I’d forgotten it at home.
“Uh huh” One stood watch while the other proceeded to pat me down. “Well, today just ain’t your day, is it?”
I started feeling a little panicked, then. I didn’t like his tone of voice, all doom and gloom. If he called my mother to prove my identity she’d know I hadn’t gone to school, and she’d be freaked out that her good son, me, was following the path my two older brothers had gone. For them, she constantly got phone calls. From neighbors, deans, mothers who’d caught either of them fucking their daughters and from the police, and all too often she had to go to court to beg the system for leniency knowing full well that systems don’t have compassions, only appetites.
“You got anything I should know about?” he asked as he began to rummage through my pockets.
I’d forgotten all about the weed in my pocket distracted by my predicament. But, I just knew I was a good kid, comparatively, so I tried to give them a look like, are you kidding???I’m captain of the debate team, Yale-bound!” I was scared to death, though, so it probably came off more like, please don’t kill me, I love cops!
“No?” I said/asked. I felt like I was lying.
“You don’t sound so sure…” He said, still digging, even patting my pockets, reminding me of the wed I kept in that little pocket above my front pocket. Oh fuck! “You wouldn’t lie to me would you?”
He said it like the parent that beats their children so viciously that even their tone can break the kids in half.
“No sir,” I responded, resisting the urge to confess his tone had given me, throwing in a “sir” hopefully to distract him. He’d probably never been called sir in his entire career.
“Uh huh…” Search completed, they pulled me into what turned out to be a storage rom turned into a holding facility. There were about 10 or so other cats who’d been caught in the sweep. All I could see were heads and shoulders crowded into a tight space.
“You lucked out, you know,” he said. “The van just got here. We were just about to take this lot to headquarters…5 minutes later and you would have been on your way.”
I regretted not staying with the fellas, then. Wait! Did he say van???
“Huh, woulda what, where…who??” I stammered.
“What’s your problem?”
“A van…” I looked around at the seedy company that shared my fate. They looked hardened. this was no big deal for any of them. Been there done that etched in their faces. Me? I’d never had occasion or reason to enter any police vehicles before. “Umm, officer, umm, you should call my mother cuz she can identify me and…”
“You should’ve thought about that shit before. You here now!”
He’d said it icily. I felt the “now” in my veins.
“Awright, turn around…I gotta put these on you.”
I watched over my shoulder as he did that nifty flip thing cops do with handcuffs, looping it around my wrist.
And, though I tried to keep it from my face, as per all that I’d learned from my hardened older brothers, inside I felt more pussy than that pussy I wasn’t going to get that day. It wasn’t even funny how quickly a run-in with the NYPD could bring you closer to God…and Stevie!
to be continued…